What word can I use for a thing with positive and negative consequences? For example, taking a cab rather than driving has its advantages and disadvantages.


5 Answers 5


I'm not sure of a single word. You might use the phrase double-edged sword, e.g.

Taking a cab is a double-edged sword. You don't have to worry about parking, but it is more expensive.


For intermingled positive and negative emotions, I would use bittersweet. Clearly though, the phrase "taking a cab is bittersweet" doesn't really hit the mark, unless you're discussing the conflict of leaving vs going. The best I can come up with is "taking a cab rather than driving has mixed/conflicting/divergent consequences." I'll think more though, those still feel off the mark to me.


If you're saying that two things have the same chances they will turn out well, or both are equally appealing choices, you can call it a toss-up.

"Should we take a cab or drive?"

"A cab sounds expensive, but I'm really tired. It's a toss-up."


Mixed bag:

one having both positive and negative qualities or aspects

Also spelled mixed-bag, to meet the single word criterion.

  • I like both mix-bag and toss-up for declaring that something has positive and negative consequences. Any idea of a single word to use to refer to the actual consequences (the things in the mixed-bag)?
    – ow3n
    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:32

Dichotomy - when presented with the choices

Merriam-Webster defines Dichotomy as

something with seemingly contradictory qualities it's a dichotomy, this opulent Ritz-style luxury in a place that fronts on a

So in the current example, it could be used such as

Driving is a dichotomy with increased comfort but long term disadvantages.

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